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XBox Reviews: Kelly Slater Pro Surfer


Kelly Slater Pro Surfer Screenshots


The Final Say!

Kelly Slater Pro Surfer
 - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 22 January 2003
Review Score: 9.2/10 
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The best surfing game I have played would have to have been on California games on the Atari Lynx hand held machine from way back in the day. You could do a variety of moves and the music and general atmosphere of the title was awesome. Other developers have had a crack at it without a great deal of success until Transworld Surfing came out and blew my socks off with it's awesome graphics and great wave effects. Then Activision got Kelly Slater to sign on the for the O2 branding, got Treyarch to develop the best surfing game on any format ever and the rest is history.


Slater was a good choice for the O2 branding and Activision were wise to bring him in. Young and six time world champion, Slater has the looks and skills to excite players into picking up this title straight away. Not only that, but Activision's marketing division has done a stellar job at creating O2 brand awareness that has had gamers ready for titles months in advance of their releases.


Kelly Slater Pro Surfer Features

  • Players 1- 2
  • Genre: Sports (surfing)
  • Rating: G8+
  • Innovative Wave System
  • 30 Levels
  • Dolby Digital


The game from the beginning, shows an environment that is extremely laid back and fits in with the surfing ethos. There is plenty of video throughout the game and Slater himself when doing voice over work sounds very natural and is generally pleasant to listen to without being cocky.  The title's menu revolves around a sea theme (you are on a boat) and within one of the cabins is where all the menu decisions are made. After choosing a surfer and all his equipment, you get to choose where to surf provided that you have unlocked that beach. When the screen changes you get a really neat screen where a Nokia phone rings and you are invited to surf! I must admit to being a Tony Hawk Pro Skater junkie and I am a bit over the heavy promotion of Nokia within these games. I understand that the advertising dollar rules, however it's a little bit in your face if you play all the O2 titles religiously as I do.


Activision are extremely smart business people when it comes to their O2 line in that if you can play one of the titles, chances are you will be able to pick up and play most of them with their very similar control system running across the range. It makes sense both for player comfort and from a gamer's perspective it totally rocks as once you've worked out one game's controls you can pick up another with only a small learning curve.

There are only two slight downsides to the game. The first is the music that is on the game. I love all sorts of music and even like the music on Pro Surfer, I just believe that it is not the sort of music that gets you pumped up about surfing. Possibly the soundtrack should have featured tracks that were a little more aggressive.

The next and last thing is that the camera used in the game is not quite as nice as I would have liked. This is a totally trifling complaint as for the most part it is perfect. The only time that it gets in the way is when you are looking for objectives to jump over etc. The game does provide a heads up for incoming objects however doesn't show where they are until almost too late. You can move the camera to a slightly over the shoulder viewpoint however the feeling that it generates is almost claustrophobic and the default view is far superior.

The trick system is complex without being overly hard and even a novice should be able to pick up  the game and play after using the extremely helpful tutorials that are available. The button layout is fairly intuitive and easy to remember for pulling out strings of tricks later in the game. When being faced with performing a number of combos during one ride, they are represented by an icon with instructions on how to perform the trick displayed to one side. It's a neat and effective way to ensure the player is popping tricks like a pro without having to memorise a huge trick book every time the game is started.

Graphically Pro Surfer is a treat to look at with a solid framerate with no slowdowns experienced at all when playing. This was impressive, although understandable considering there is very little happening in the background other than water. All the surfers are wonderfully animated and the waves are a treat to watch. The best thing was the fact that as far as I could see, no wave was alike, as the game brags. They all rode slightly differently, affecting different approaches each time.

If you are into surfing or board sports then I would heartily recommend Kelly Slater Pro Surfer. It is the best and most intelligent surfing title made to date, and most importantly, is a ton of fun to play. Highly Recommended!

- Tory Favro

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com